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Tampa Bay Rays news: On the Salvador Perez HBP—Does Chris Archer ever throw inside?

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Yes, absolutely, and don’t try to say otherwise.

Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Rays drubbed the Kansas City Royals yesterday, 12-1, behind a very strong start from Chris Archer. Eight innings with no runs, five hits, eleven strikeouts, and no walks.

There was, however, one hit-by-pitch, which has turned into the story of this game. Let’s go to Rays Radio to hear it in the players’ own words.

Archer says that he’s never had a problem with Salvador Perez before, that all their interactions have been good, and that it was just a pitch that got away from him:

He’s a good hitter. I’m trying to pitch inside. There’s no malicious intent with the 96 mph.

But Salvador Perez saw it differently:

Of course he’s going to throw at me because I have two hits against him. He was mad. But I don’t think that’s the right way, you know? He never throws the first pitch inside. We can see all the reports he has, he never throws inside. Just get ‘em out, you know? Just try to make a pitch.

Okay. Let’s pause here for a second, because this is a statement that can be fact checked. Using Baseball Savant, here are all of the first pitches that Archer threw to the inside third of the plate or inside off the plate against right-handed hitters.

0-0 counts to RHB
  • Archer threw 216 pitches to righties in 0-0 counts.
  • 76 of them, or 35%, were inside (generally defined).
  • 48 of them, or 22% were inside for balls (counting some that were high or low).

Yes, other than the pitch behind Jose Bautista, the pitch to Salvador Perez is the furthest inside, because it’s the only one that hit the batter. No one is arguing that this pitch wasn’t squarely into Perez’s side. But this, uh, scouting report that Perez is talking about? Not a thing.

I don’t imagine that 96 mph feels very good, so I can see why he was upset. Cut him some slack. But no, don’t let this story take off of “Chris Archer only pitches inside when he wants to hit a batter who’s been successful against him.”

For his part, Ned Yost said that he didn’t think there was anything brewing, that Perez had hit the ball hard, that Archer’s command had been good all game, but that it’s “hard to fathom” Archer throwing at Perez in that spot and that he can’t say whether or not there was intent. I don’t really hear this as Yost accusing Archer—more just Yost not arguing with his guy. This should be the end of things.

However, teammates of Perez agree that it was intentional

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